Healthcare leaders have launched a healthcare passport especially for children leaving care.
The Health Passport is a new initiative brought about by the Children in Care Council and Open Door, who visited NHS Thurrock Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) Board in 2017. They expressed a desire to know more about how local healthcare works and how they could feed in to plans.
During discussions the young people said it was difficult to navigate all the health care services they used, and the information they needed to be able to stay on top of their own healthcare was not always easy to find. It would be especially useful to help them take control of their healthcare when leaving care and going on to be independent.
In response to this Thurrock CCG offered to create a health passport to enable young people to take charge of their health and wellbeing on leaving care. This has been co-designed with young people as representatives of the Children in Care Council, the Designated Looked After Children’s Nurse and the CCG.
Mandy Ansell, Accountable Officer, NHS Thurrock CCG said: “We were delighted to support the young people in designing something that they will find useful in helping them as they grow up and eventually leave care. It’s a pocket sized guide that can be shared with GPs, Nurses, Dentists, and any healthcare provider. It contains details of vaccinations, medications, allergies and even first aid tips. We hope this co-designed resource will ease the transition to being an independent adult.”
A young person, who is Chair of the Children in Care Council and was directly involved in the passport design said: “All of us found it a great opportunity to have been a part of the commissioning process for the health passport. It is a piece of work that we are all very proud of and hope will serve the needs of looked-after children and care leavers for many generations to come. We look forward to working with the NHS, CCG and NELFT on any health-related projects in the future and welcome their affirmative attitude to the health needs of looked-after children.”
Cllr Sue Little, Portfolio Holder for Children and Adult Social Care at Thurrock Council, said: “I am thrilled that the Health Passport initiative has become a reality, with young people being at the forefront it means they can look after their own health and inspire others to do the same. Understanding their healthcare and knowing what to do in an emergency not only teaches our young people vital skills, but also makes them more resilient for the future.”
There are 315 looked after children in Thurrock in May 2018, 50 children turned 18 and will leave care and go on to be independent adults.
1000 copies of the passport have been delivered and the first children have been able to benefit from its use. Children aged from 13 years old will be able to benefit from using the passport.